BY PAUL DAUGHERTY | PDAUGHERTY@ENQUIRER.COM
No love for Adam Dunn. No affection for the Big Donkey. Man averages 42 homers, 95 RBI and 104 runs scored the last three years. Heís only 27 years old. People think you can find those numbers on Aisle 13 at Wal-Mart.
No love for 334 walks between 2004 and 2006. No time for 179 homers in the previous five seasons. Only seven current players have hit more long balls during that time. Itís practically a Hall of Fame lineup: Rodriguez, Pujols, Ortiz, Ramirez, Jones, Thome, Soriano ... Dunn.
No love for our townís Dave Kingman, Greg Luzinski and Rob Deer. Chicks dig the long ball? Evidently not. Chicks dig line drives with runners in scoring position and Web Gems on the Worldwide Leader.
No room in Cincinnati for Adam Dunn. Wayne Krivskyís Reds are going to pitch and play defense. Dunnerís gonna hit big flies and go fishing. Jerry Narronís Reds will do the ďlittle things.Ē The Big Donkey is better at the big things that travel 400 feet.
The Reds are looking to trade him. This is the notion. Itís a good one, even if it has been out there since last offseason. Or, according to Dunn, since 2002.
ďOh-two, oh-three, oh-four,Ē he said. Oh-eight, Iíll hear it. Oh-nine. Iíll believe it when I see it.Ē
Dunn handles this the way he handles all things: Easily. A little self deprecation, a big shrug. Adam Dunn is a big olí boy whose demeanor is as placid as 6 a.m. on a farm pond. Heíll never be the player people want him to be, probably. Heíll never go ulcerous worrying about it.
ďWeíll go shopping, me and you,Ē Ken Griffey Jr. interjected, a reference to Dunn being shopped to other clubs. ďWhereíd you like to go? Nordstrom?Ē
ďBass Pro (Shops)," Dunn said.
He could be gone in a month or six weeks. He could be a Red all year. Wishing to trade a player doesnít make it so. Dunn makes $10 million this year; heís scheduled to make $13 million next year, if the Reds exercise their option, which they almost certainly wonít.
Any team wanting Dunn would have to pick up whatís left of this yearís deal (likely $4 million-plus) and negotiate a new one. Without a contract, Dunn becomes a rent-a-player, never a good idea.
So thereís that. And this:
It will be hard to trade him. Teams serious about winning donít often target home run hitters at the trade deadline. Especially home run hitters who play defense, um, casually, and strike out close to 200 times a year. Dunnís skills limit his trade factor. Heís a natural-born designated hitter, which might cut a whole league out of the equation.
Regardless, it has become obvious Dunn is no longer a great fit here. Which is too bad, because heíll leave here with everyone wanting more. Fans who loved him even a year ago have run out of patience with him now. They heard Dunn talk about being a ďgreatĒ outfielder. They heard of his offseason and spring work with hitting coach Brook Jacoby.
They saw him hit balls to left field the first few weeks of the season. They saw a lightbulb turn on. They were pleased.
Only now, the seasonís a mess, Dunn hasnít become a great outfielder and he has struck out 83 times in 220 at-bats. He is who he is. Probably, always will be. Itís not all bad, and if the Reds were playing well, he wouldnít be hearing the critical noise.
But they arenít, and he is.
Some of us made our peace with the Big Donkey. Some of us, after the last two months of last season, saw the unmet potential and shrugged, the way Dunn might. Forty and 100, with 100 runs scored, ainít bad. A guy could make $10 million a year playing baseball with those numbers.
If heís traded, itíd open a spot for Norris Hopper to play every day.
Itíd signal from Krivsky the next meaningful shift in philosophy. The first was trading Wily Mo Pena for Bronson Arroyo. Itíd remove a laid-back clubhouse presence, for better or worse.
Itíd ship a lot of runs out of town, too. Several scouts were at Great American Ball Park by late this afternoon. They werenít looking at Eric Milton.